Vegan ramen is out there, but it can be hard to find.
There are currently 6 flavors of Top Ramen noodle soup.
Some are clearly not vegan: chicken flavored, beef, shrimp, and hot & spicy beef.
But two are not as obvious: the soy sauce flavor and chili flavors.
Side note: See my post on are ramen noodles vegan for other brands.
Is Top Ramen Soy Sauce (Oriental) Vegan?
Top Ramen says this flavor of instant noodles is vegetarian, but is it vegan as well?
I won’t list the full ingredients list, but there are some ingredients that concern me:
Palm oil, caramel color, sugar
Let’s go through these one-by-one:
- Palm oil – Many vegans don’t eat palm oil because of ethical concerns about the industry. You’ll have to make up your own mind on it if you haven’t already. My conclusion is that palm oil is “technically” vegan, although I don’t eat it myself.
- Sugar – Some sugar is not vegan because it’s processed with bone char. There’s no way to tell just from the package.
- Caramel color – Caramel color is typically vegan, so I’m not too worried about this.
If the palm oil isn’t an issue for you, there’s a decent chance that the soy sauce flavor is vegan. However, that still leaves a decent chance that it isn’t.
It’s up to you if you’re willing to take a gamble on it.
The Top Ramen Soy Sauce flavors probably vegan-friendly, but there’s a chance that it isn’t due to the sugar and caramel color.
Is Top Ramen Chili Vegan?
Again, this is a vegetarian flavor.
It has the same ingredients that worry me:
- Palm oil
- Caramel color
Again, there’s a pretty good chance that the chili flavor is vegan, but also a chance that it isn’t.
The vegetarian Top Ramen chili flavor is also likely vegan friendly. Sugar and caramel color are usually vegan, but aren’t always, so there’s a risk.
Verdict: Are Any Top Ramen Flavors Vegan-Friendly?
Unfortunately no definitive answers here.
However, we can say that if you’re okay with palm oil, both the soy sauce (oriental) and chili flavors are possibly vegan. It’s probably even likely that they are.
But there’s a significant chance they aren’t, so it’s up to you if you’d like to take the risk.
The ramen noodle soup without the sauce is obviously vegan, but you can’t exactly buy them without the flavor packet.
A Vegan Alternative to Top Ramen Noodle
If you want to be 100% sure that your instant ramen is vegan, you’ll either need to make your own, or buy a brand that clearly labels its products as vegan or not.
One popular brand of vegan ramen that you can buy online in North America is Dr McDougall’s Vegan Miso Ramen.
Just from the name itself, which has “vegan” in it, you know it’s a vegan option with a vegetable flavor.
The ingredients are also clearly vegan and devoid of any animal products.
I wouldn’t say that’s a particularly healthy ingredient list since it’s mainly just wheat and sugar, but it’s vegan-friendly.